August 27, 2015
Blogging can be hard. Especially for a business that has numerous other channels to cater – sales, user-experience marketing, etc. However, blogging for businesses is still most traffic-boosting and lead-generating content delivery platform.
Here are 5 facts to prove the point of having a blog:
- Boost your SEO: Companies that blog regularly receive 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages compared to those without a blog.
- Boost your traffic: I don’t even talk about the times when posts go viral, but in general, having a base of 21 to 54 articles increases your traffic by an estimated 30%.
- Builds Trust: 81% of consumers prefer to trust blogs over any other forms of online advertising.
- Lead generation: B2B blogs generate 67% more leads compared to non-blogging companies.
- Sales: According to a recent survey 67% of U.S. customers have made a purchase based on a blog post.
Okay, so now you have some valid reasons why you need to create a blog for your business. Let’s get into the practicalities in this 4 step guide to blogging as a business!
Step 1: Your Blog Needs Ideas
Inspiration is a fussy thing. You can’t always rely on it. Blogging as a business demands consistency, thus a proven strategy to generate winning content ideas all the time.
First of all, identify the type and amount of posts you’ll be publishing on your blog – list posts, round-ups, expert interview, how-tos, guides, general business updates. Got the numbers? Now start brainstorming ideas. Here are some tips to help you:
- Browse through forums/Q&A sites. Check out what questions people have in your niche. What’s their biggest struggle? Help them to solve it in the next post.
- Check out online groups as well. Facebook, LinkedIn, and G+ communities can be a valuable source of insights about your users and their needs.
- Use feedly to keep an eye on the top headlines in your industry. What are big publishers talking about? What’s your competitors posting? How can you upgrade their ideas with even more value?
- Competitor’s FAQ section: how can you help their users?
- Relevant courses on SkillShare – those always have a short course plan section. Grab one of the subheadings and use it as your next blog topic. The thing is, if people are ready to pay money for this; it should be something they are really interested in after all.
There are numerous ways to generate great content ideas. Just always keep your Evernote close to write them down, once you have this “aha” moment.
Step 2: Create a blogging calendar
Your business needs a blogging calendar if you really want to get results for your efforts. A Google Spreadsheet will do for a start. Here’s the essential information that should be in it:
- General idea
- Suggested titles
- Target audience
- Blog category
- Editor (if any)
- Relevant links
- Relevant visuals
- Call to action
- Draft date
- Post date
On top, make sure you’ve created a standard content promotion checklist to draw relevant eyeballs once your post’s published.
Step 3: Start Crafting the Content
The truth is – consumers no longer want just any words. They want helpful, witty, engaging, practical and educational pieces they can actually make use of.
So you already have one element of a killer content – a relevant topic. Now spice it up with the rest – magnetic title; short and sweet introduction to hook ’em up; short clear paragraphs; a simple, step-by-step outline of your idea; a few relevant keywords in the subheadings and nice visuals to grab their attention even more.
Here’s a winning content formula for any blog:
- Tell your readers what you are going to talk about
- Tell them why it is helpful to them
- Tell your idea (in a step-by-step form)
- Sum up all the key points
Step 4: Optimize your blog
To get the biggest bang out of your content efforts, you’ll need to do a lot of testing till you work out the ultimate formula for the posts your readers love.
Considering you are not an A/B testing ninja, let’s focus on the two main quick fixes you can do today:
There are numerous headline formulas that work, try implementing a few of them on similar types of posts and see which perform best on social media. Additionally, take advantage of Portent Title Maker to update the existing titles.
Another simple way to test CTA rates of different headlines is to test do A/B testing for your email campaign. Compare the numbers of the same campaign with different email subject lines and Call to actions to see what sounds really compelling to your users.
Call to Actions
Your blog doesn’t pay your bills, but your revenue does. That’s why Call to Actions are essential for any online business.
To craft the ultimate CTA you need to identify your goal first:
- Grow Subscribers List
- Lead Generation
- More Social Shares
- Clicks to Product Pages
Select one goal for each post to get the best results. Next, test your CTAs placement – header, in-line, sidebar, or footer. Additionally, check out this guide on landing pages optimization for more valuable insights.
Now you are all set up. It’s time to get to business blogging!
Image Credit: Flickr/Mark Hunter
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